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India, Bangladesh must find solution to refugees' problem

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI MAY 24. Political parties in Bangladesh often blame each other for perpetuating "atrocities" on Hindu minorities and it is the ordinary people who come to the rescue of the minority community. This is the impression that a 34-member women's delegation got after meeting ordinary citizens and leaders of various political parties, including the Home and Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, during their week-long visit to that country.

"Atrocities increase during election time and it is the losing candidates who often accuse the minorities for being the reason for his defeat," said Syeda Hamid, a member of the visiting team that went under the banner of Women's Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA). However, it was always the Muslim community which inspired the minorities to stay back and also took responsibility for their personal security.

Releasing a joint statement on behalf of the Indian and Bangladeshi women at a press conference here today, WIPSA called upon both the Governments and civil society to adopt strong measures in the public and private spheres for tolerance and respect for all. It suggested more dissemination of information and interaction between the two countries. All governments in South Asia should reduce their defence budget and liberalise the visa regimes to allow for greater people-to-people contacts.

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